Friday, August 29, 2014

West Africa Ebola Outbreak 2014 Facts

If I were the CDC and DHS, I'd be pushing down something at least like this to the states, local municipalities, hospitals & other health care facilities, universities, and schools. That's tough to do, I understand, so I'm just going to do my little part and offer this up here. This is based off of my own private, limited research of the topic.

1. Ebola is spread by bodily fluids. To what degree, science does not seem certain yet, and thus fluids as innocuous as sweat and tears are still considered dangerous.

2. One strain that affected a U.S. facility decades ago was thought to possibly be aerosolized since it seemed to pass across two rooms via HVAC. This hasn't been proven, and the disease in action has not shown signs of being as easily passed as a cold or influenza.

3. It has a 21 day incubation period. During this time, it is not infectious until a patient is symptomatic.

4. Symptoms begin with a severe sore throat and high fever, quickly moving to bloody diarrhea and vomiting.

5. Quick identification and reaction to symptoms is important because:
  • The subject and those exposed must be secluded and monitored to prevent the spread of the disease.
  • Most municipalities do not have the personal protective equipment and most local hospitals do not have the means to create an isolation ward, and it will take some time to acquire those means. This will be even more crucial if the disease shows in multiple regions at about the same time.
6. The current outbreak:
  • Was not well diagnosed early on, which lead to its spread to urban areas.
  • Has largely been confined to Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leonne, and Senegal.
  • This is the deadliest outbreak of Ebola in history. This is largely due to the spread of the disease to densely populated, urban areas.
  • As of 8/20/2014, approximately 3000 have been infected and 1500 have died. This makes it a less lethal strain, as some strains approach 80% fatalities.
  • Liberia is a current location of concern. On 8/18/2014, protests in the West Point area of Monrovia looted an Ebola clinic, leaving with infected patients, bedding, clothes, and supplies. West Point has since been sealed off by the Liberian military.
  • There is a general cultural distrust of doctors in this region, and some even believe doctors are intentionally infecting them with the disease, leading people to hide their early symptoms and hide relatives with more advanced symptoms, increasing transmission rates.
  • Also contributing is a cultural habit of contact with corpses at funerals. An American who returned for his sister's funeral may have contracted the disease this way. He became symptomatic on his return travels to the Twin Cities and later died in Africa.
7. So why is this important?
  • Ebola is entirely containable, but a nation's infrastructure must be prepared to quickly identify potential victims and isolate them and monitor those exposed. If it doesn't, the disease can start to strain the first response and health care system quickly.
  • American first responders and its health care system largely do not have plans or resources in place to handle outbreaks of a disease of this type. This makes early identification all the more important. Every from teachers to police to firefighters to EMTs to health care professionals to the average American needs to be knowledgeable as to the signs of the disease to aid in the earliest possible containment of individual cases. Otherwise, it could quickly strain society's ability to handle it.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Climate Change, Man's Newest Religion

Am I the only who's noticed that the global warming/climate change movement has become somewhat religious? And by religious, I mean based more on faith and belief than actual logic. Let me illustrate with a fictional conversation with a critical agnostic:

Person 1: So, you believe in global warming?

Person 2: It's climate change.

P1: But the problem is warming, right? So it's global warming that's the issue.

P2: Climate change is too complex to understand fully, so warming isn't the only issue. But the climate changes affect all of us.

P1: But hasn't our climate been changing as long as we've been able to measure it, even before the rise of man? I mean, Ice Ages.

P2: Yes, but this is radical change. For the warmer, for the most part. Warmer temperatures will devastate us with drought, flooding, pestilence, and disease.

P1: But in other eras, life thrived. Most life forms grew larger than today because of more ideal conditions. Human society sprang from earth's warmest regions for that reason.

P2: Science tells us it's different now.

P1: Define this 'science'. 

P2: Thousands and thousands of scientists who say it's true.

P1: Okay, a lot of scientists say it's true. But a lot of scientists have studied it and says it isn't. What about them?

P2: They're apostates, heretics, blasphemers, and idiots.

P1: Okay. On what do basis do you make this claim. Have you looked at any numbers or methodology?

P2: No, I'm not a scientist. A lot of scientists say otherwise.

P1: So what you're saying is you have faith and belief in one side because they say it's so?

P2: Not because they say it, because I know it's true. It's #science.

P1: You don't understand the scientific method at all, do you?

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Are We Going About Football Concussions All Wrong?

What follows is kind of a stream of consciousness brain storm on my part. NFL concussions noodle there way into my head when I thought of the mechanism of some concussions, and how it is tied, in part, to the neck's ability to 'whip' the head, increasing rates of acceleration the head and brain experience. I am not a doctor or a physicist - I'm just trying to look at this from a different angle.


The problem with the football helmet is that it really isn't designed at all to protect against the acceleration/deceleration head injury that is the concussion.It is designed to protect the head against blunt force traumas, and it does that very well. The skull fractures that were the problem of football in its earliest collegiate days are almost a non-issue today. Where we hit boundaries in the concussion conversation is when we continue to think of the helmet as a means of concussion prevention when it is nothing of the sort.

Football's concussion problem stems from the fact that the head sits on what is essentially a whip. The neck has a wide range of forward and side to side motion, and in many concussions, that motion gets the head moving at a much higher rate of speed in a big collision than the body. That, in turn, worsens the damage suffered by the brain when it moves during the collision and impacts the skull. So what if the first step toward reducing concussions isn't making the helmet stronger, but instead reducing the neck's ability to literally whip the brain into the skull?

Focusing on the neck instead of the head changes everything. You might look at a firm brace that connects between the shoulder pads and the helment, or even a halo like device, either of which preserves lateral head movement while stopping the whipping action of the head. Perhaps it would even be worth examining retired players who used to use the now obsolete neck roll pad of the 1980s. I don't have the exact solution, I'm just saying that I think we're trying to create the wrong solutions right now.

Of course, any solution that reduces forward/backward/sideways acceleration to keep it in line of with that of the body is going to have some critics. Criticisms that a neck device would change the game should be roundly criticized. The game is always changing, and it needs to change in some way to prevent concussions. And this solution would not end concussions, it reduce them. But other criticisms should be examined. Would stiffening the neck possibly increase the risk of spine injuries? Would the reduced forward/backward/side-to-side motion create a significant increase in other very serious injuries? Those are the types of criticisms that should be examined, but which I can't answer at this point because this at the brainstorm level for me.

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Lost! One Senator

Wisconsin can't find one of its Senators. Please post this sign in your neighborhood. We aren't sure this is so important as to warrant a reward, but maybe we'll put up some cheese and beer for her safe return to actually doing something to represent us in the U.S. Senate.

Help Wisconsin Find Its Senator!

America, Wisconsin needs your help. Senator Tammy Baldwin is missing. She has not been seen nor directly heard from since she was sworn in on 1/3/13. Rumor has it that she's shown up for votes, but there is zero evidence that it was actually her. Now "she" has shut down her entire senate office even though the Senate is still open.

We here in Wisconsin are very concerned by this turn of events. The person who previously held her senate seat, former Senator Herb Kohl, was seemingly missing from the Senate his entire political career. People would say they saw him at Milwaukee Bucks games, but those reports were as nebulous as Elvis sightings. Please help Wisconsin find its new junior senator!

Friday, July 12, 2013

We Told You, Ethanol Edition

It appears that some are finally coming to the conclusion that ethanol isn't a good thing:

But while federal support for ethanol appears to be as unstoppable as it is misguided, some individual states have shown the kind of backbone that could lead us toward a smarter energy policy. In June, Florida repealed its Renewable Fuel Standard, which mandated that gasoline contain 10 percent ethanol. And in May, Maine lawmakers approved a bill banning ethanol in gas, and asked the federal government to do the same.

A number of us tried telling everyone the big downside to ethanol over five years ago, saying the same things that it has taken everyone else years to figure out. Welcome on board, now it's time to get Washington's attention.

Jiblog on ethanol.
Badger Blog Alliance on ethanol.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial to the Fallen

It is Memorial Day. We often treat this as a day of celebration, of cookouts, drinks, and loved ones. In many ways, we should, as long as we remember our fallen, those who made the ultimate sacrifice to preserve this life of ours. They fought for brotherhood, but they fought for loved ones, too. But remember them in celebration.

I am blessed. I have many relatives and friends who have served, and vets who have returned. I am thankful for them every Veteran's Day. But for those of you have have served, and vets who have returned, please do be accepting of thanks this day. I know it is an emotionally complicated thing - today is for the fallen. But many people are supremely grateful that you are still here, and that they can still embrace you and express their gratitude.

Memorial Day is a busy day in American life. But if you do have time, stop by a local cemetery. Find a military grave that looks forgotten. Pause, remember the name, and quietly say thank you.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Happy Trails, Boots and Sabers.

My best wishes to Owen, Wendy, and their family. Boots and Sabers has closed shop (unlike Jiblog, which just SEEMS to have closed shop). I hope we can cross paths again one day.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Kermit Gosnell, Monster

If a man stood accused of stabbing hundreds of living, breathing people in the neck and severing their spinal cords, killing them, you'd know about it right? And if he was reckless in his killing, resulting in the deaths of a number of women, you'd be angry, wouldn't you? Heck, you'd probably even be following his trial. Not so fast on any of that, because that monster does exist, and he is on trial right now, and you probably don't know one thing about it because it has barely hit the national consciousness. So click here, and get your introduction to Kermit Gosnell.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Merry Aaron Rodgers' Mustache Eve!

12/12/12 is Aaron Rodgers Day here in Wisconsin, but much like Christmas, the fun actually begins tonight with Aaron Rodgers' Mustache Eve. Tonight, all Wisconsinites will sing Packers carols like "The Bears Still Suck" and leave our jock straps and sports bras out in front of our candle lit Vince Lombardi shrines. After we go to sleep, Aaron Rodgers' mustache will travel about the state in an instant. Good Wisconsinites will receive cheese and sausage and beer in their sports undergarments (still sealed for hygene's sake). Bad Wisconsinites will find their sports undergarments smeared with Icy Hot and filled with Bears and Vikings tickets. And containing a facsimile Mike McCarthy mustache. So be good, and a discount double check to all!

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Prediction Time

The day has arrived, America. After months and months and months of advertising, campaign stops, and debates, it is time to choose a president. Here is my best educated WAG at how it will all turn out:

Sunday, November 04, 2012

An Open Letter To Undecided Voters

Dear Undecided Voter,

By this point in this year's election, most candidates have stopped trying to win you over. Instead, the focus really turns from wooing you to getting their supporters to turn out. But I'm not a candidate, so I want to discuss with you why I am voting for Republicans. It isn't the normal talking points; instead, it is about my biggest fear if we do not elect Mitt Romney and a Republican Senate. And it all boils down to Obamacare.

Democrats played hardball when they crafted Obamacare. They did not wish to negotiate with Republicans, nor did they care for Republican input. Because they had majorities, they were able to do this and ultimately force the bill through on a Christmas Eve.

As an independent, I trust that you are exactly the type to mistrust legislation that one side bullies through, whichever side that may be. And the poll numbers have shown that most of you do. And some of you have legitimate fears about healthcare for yourself and/or your family, and this bill may appear to address those fears. I can respect that. But as this bill starts to take hold in 2013, their is one scary consequence, and I'm not talking about "death panels." I'm talking about your impending loss of you plan.

If you have an employee provided healthcare, as much it may enrage you, that plan costs your employer a huge amount of money. In addition to what you pay, your employer is probably contributing somewhere in the neighborhood of $6,000 to $12,000 a year for your healthcare plan. The Obamacare Bill provides what it calls a "penalty" of $2,000 to your employer if they drop your coverage. But as anyone can see, that $2,000 is significantly less than what they are paying for the plans. I don't know about you, but I call that an "incentive" to drop your healthcare plan.

I'm not going to bother going into why they set that fine so low, because that is laden political baggage, and I just want to talk about a real world affect here. Faced with saving that much money per employee, your employer WILL drop your insurance coverage. They won't all do it at first, but in each industry, in each sector, an employer will have difficulties and have no choice but to cut the plans. That will be the trigger for every other employer to do the same in order to stay competitive.

When your employer kills your fringe benefit of healthcare, that will reduce your total compensation by what they paid for your plan. So that means your compensation will decrease by $6,000 to $12,000. That will not be passed onto you in wages. Now you will need to go into a state exchange to buy insurance because you are required to carry it in Obamacare. Your old plan will probably be there, but it will cost $6,000 to $12,000 more than your share of it used to be, so you probably won't be able to afford your old plan.

In order to find a plan in the range of your old contribution to your old employer healthcare plan, you will need to buy a truly crummy plan. Many self employed are already familiar with this. You will have very high deductibles ($10,000 and up), and the plans will be even more restrictive than your current plans.

This is a serious flaw in the current health care plan, and it needs to be fixed. But if President Obama receives four more years, and the Senate remains in Democrat hands, it won't be. They own this bill, and it will not be in their interests to admit flaws, because they cannot blame "the other side" for them. If you and your family have a bit of bad luck, you may very easily find yourselves tens of thousands of dollars of medical debt in 4 years when you have your next chance to vote for President.

I've tried to avoid the hot topic political issues in discussing this. It is just my personal plea to you. The Obamacare bill is seriously flawed. It needs to be fixed. And the only way to do that is to create the environment in Washington where it can be, and that's by voting for Mitt Romney and a Republican for Senate, if you can. In two years, you can give the House or the Senate back to Democrats if you don't like the results. But if we don't, I don't think any of us will like the results.

This was pretty long, even for a blog post. So if you've gotten this far, thanks for considering what I had to say. Get out there on Tuesday and vote!


Friday, September 21, 2012

To Hell with Rally Monkeys

I present the Rally Monkees:

Wake up sleepy Gene!
Oh what can it mean
To a daydream Brewliever
And an NL MVP?

Space Shuttle on Tour

This is a pretty cool photo.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The "Who Me" Fart Bomb

I LOVE this:
Who Me was a top secret sulfurous stench weapon developed by the American Office of Strategic Services during World War II to be used by the French Resistance against German officers. Who Me smelled strongly of fecal matter, and was issued in pocket atomizers intended to be unobtrusively sprayed on a German officer, humiliating him and, by extension, demoralizing the occupying German forces.
Interestingly, French Resistance was already getting stunning results from a "whoever smelt it, dealt it" whisper campaign.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Talk Like a Yooper Day 2012

Yes, yes, I know, today is Talk Like a Pirate Day, but I wanted to give everyone a heads up that Talk Like a Yooper Day is December 2nd this year. So get your road pops ready.  And if this...

 ...doesn't occur that day with this guy, start the impeachment process.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

2012 Milwaukee Brewers Review, a Touch Early

Let's review. Your Brewers lost an elite power hitter in the off season. Their other one was mired in controversy. The one they hired didn't hit for the first two months. Their all star 2nd baseman didn't hit until mid-July. They were decimated by injury at catcher, short, first, and pitcher. The bullpen was so bad that if it had just been average, they'd have 10 extra wins. This all led them to trade away a Cy Young Award winning pitcher. Yet this team is still in contention. Even if it ends with the regular season, what they are doing right now is pretty damn special. Appreciate it, fans, and have hope for '13. But hold onto that hope of a late September baseball fan - this might not end badly.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Re-Elect The President in '80!

I just love Obama's new campaign buttons.

"The People Who Did This Will Hear All of Us Soon"

In light of events, this is required viewing today.

Welcome to 1979

Our diplomatic interests were attacked in the Middle East yesterday as we impotently watch. The economy is stagnant. President Obama, killer bunny rabbit is on line one. He says, "get your paddle ready."

And it gets even worse as Libyans drag the corpse of Ambassador Christopher Stevens through the streets.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Caution: Hard Hat Area

If I'm going to start dabbling here again, I think this joint needs a renovation. Please bear with the current ugly theme. It won't last long.

Pre-9/11 Intel

This article, which actually covers another piece that is actually more of a political cudgel, indicates that there was intel in the months leading up to 9/11 that an attack was imminent. I'm not really interested in the political game being played with this, but the raw history of it. And from the raw history, I have no doubt that there were warnings.

Now, why do I say this? First, when there are historic attacks like this, there are almost always subtle and not so subtle warnings. Now, when we look back on them, we say, how could people have missed that? But the fact is that these events destroy old realities and create all new realities. When we view them from our new reality, yeah, they seem obvious. But if you let yourself revert to old mindsets and perceptions of the world as they were in that old reality, you find that the pieces don't fit so nicely. It is often the attack or the disaster that changes the focal length of what is going on and everything becomes clear.

Secondly, and this dogs me to this day, early that summer, I read an article that discussed the growing terror threat. It said that intelligence agencies were worried that terrorists were going to be changing their tactics, and I believe it had used some examples from the then recent years as examples of how that was happening. And it discussed some of the tactics terrorists might use, and I found it frightening and mind blowing. And one of those tactics was using airplanes as weapons. So this was, at least at some level below the public consciousness, out there well in advance of 9/11. I was so taken aback by the article that it was something I would have blogged about, but this was the pre-blog days when only a few people like Sean Hackbarth and Glenn Reynolds were doing what would later be known as blogging.

The article had already receded in my mind a bit by September 10th, 2001, but it shot to the forefront of my mind that next day. Unfortunately, I was never able to find it back, and I used all of my web research skills. But it had been out there. It was as though it vaguely predicted the attack, in a way. But here's the catch - the most important information needed to stop an attack - who was going to do it, when they would, what would they attack, and what with - that was all still a mystery until the morning of 9-11-01. And even then, we wouldn't really who did it for a while.

So while it is fun, and rather easy, to play political gotcha games in stories of intel, it is a disservice to the history. Hindsight is indeed 20-20, but the present is all too often some damn murky water.

Thursday, August 23, 2012